Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Reflection Pools

Quail Creek Pool Reflection

Image Details

The Red Reef Trail in St. George, Utah follows Quail Creek to a pair of waterfalls that are at times completely dry.

The trail head starts at the Red Cliffs Campground. The best spot to park, is near campsite #2, if you can get it. Parking is extremely limited, so go midweek or very early in the morning or late in the day or you will struggle with parking.

It’s 2.2 miles out-and-back and it’s an easy trail for kids. The trail passes old cottonwood trees, an alcove with Pictographs, and reflection pools in the creek.

I used a Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 23mm on my EOS R5 Mirrorless Camera camera.

The above image was taken with a polarizer. Polarizers eliminate reflections which is sometimes desired and sometimes not. Notice how you can see right through the water to the rocks on the bottom. I had the polarizer rotated for maximum blockage of reflected light.

I wanted a long exposure but could not get one as it was simply too light out, even in the shade. To get up to 3 seconds I stopped all the way down to F22 and pushed the reflection to the point of nearly burning out. F22 is not a sharp F-Stop, and I did blow out the land.

The remedy was to take a second exposure at F16, properly exposed, and blend them manually.

Compare to the following image taken with a polarizer but the filter rotated to minimally block reflections.

The above image was for 0.7 seconds.

Reflection Tips

  • The best reflection images are when the water is in the shade.
  • Get low. I am not more than a foot above the water.
  • To get swirls you will need a long exposure and thus a tripod. These shots are not possible without a tripod.
  • Wind can be a major problem. If it’s windy, don’t expect smooth reflections.
  • Be careful of direct sunlight. No portion of either image above is lit by direct sunlight.
  • It would take multiple exposures and blending if any portion was directly lit by the sun.

Also check out my previous Red Cliffs post: Red Cliffs National Conservation Area Waterfalls

Equipment List

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Nearby Posts

  1. Hurricane Valley Car Light Trails at Sunset
  2. Quail Creek State Park, Mouth of Creek, Sunset Reflections
  3. Quail Creek State Park, Sunset Reflections From Overlook

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